I am taking my fourth cruise, and having just come off of a ten day Caribbean jaunt on the ms Volendam, I have come to the conclusion that one must not "expect" too much from ANY one cruise ship...
Our first cruise was exactly one year ago from our upcoming Norway trip, and it was on the Ryndam (HAL). It was AWESOME, we were given a three class upgrade, had a nice a big outside room, the SERVICE was impeccable, our room steward on top of every little detail, food was the best, etc...then, I was "given" a cruise on Carnival's Holiday, a 4 night jaunt down to Encenada...
It was a nightmare; I don't even think we HAD a steward; no call button for him, and everything from the Ship to the food to the entertainment was just a far turnabout from what we experienced on the Ryndam...but, I found that MY attitude made our trip a fun one! After getting over the initial "shock" of the condition of this old ship, I decided to just make it a grand time, and that we had...of course, I won't ever book on that ship again, lol, but really, put me out at sea with some fun people, and I can certainly make it a great time!
My third cruise, on the Volendam, I was booked into a Verandah Suite; Well, I was SURE this would surpass our first cruise; wrong I was! Our Steward apparently only had one more cruise until he went home for his break, and could care LESS if we were happy! He didn't even change the bedding, which my friend noticed after she cut her foot and bled some on her sheets...the bathroom looked like he just took a wet rag and ran it across the sink, and on a 10 day jaunt it was bothersome to know that we simply were not getting the "white glove" treatment we had come to expect after our first cruise. What MADE this a fantastic voyage were our fun tablemates (I went with my life long friend as we both celebrated our 40th birthdays!), the many people we met and ended up befriending, and all of the other fun things one encounters onboard and onshore...sure, it was a downer to get bad cabin service, but that balcony was divine; I have just called my agent to upgrade to a balcony cabin on the Norway, as once I experienced the pleasure of sleeping outside with the salt air and warm winds, well, it's tough not to upgrade! Plus, we are celebrating our 10th anniversary this year, and my husband has yet to experience a balcony suite, so I went ahead and upgraded, making sure to request a KING bed after reading the posts on this message board!
If any of you are planning on sailing the Norway for Valentine's Day, please, email me, and perhaps we can have coffee or a drink! I caught "the cruise bug" on that first trip, mainly due to how wonderfully friendly the other passengers were, and have found that to be the one consistant thing on each of the ships...as long as I am willing to smile, there are many people who love to make new friends and have a grand time at it!
Happy sailing, and may the sea be gentle and a friend be found in every port!